Easy Grape Salad Recipe
This simple Grape Salad Recipe is full of fresh red grapes that are tossed in a sweet cream cheese dressing and sprinkled with brown sugar and pecans. It can be served as a side dish or dessert, and it’s perfect for spring, summer, holidays, and parties! If you’re looking for something a little different for your holiday menu, this would be a wonderful addition.
Delicious and Easy Grape … Salad?
Can we talk about how I never even heard of grape salad until a few years ago? I saw a video for it in my Facebook feed, and I thought it looked … interesting. I’ll admit that I was totally skeptical.
One day not long after, we were at my in-laws for lunch, and my mother-in-law served up grape salad. It was … delicious!
That night, I Googled “grape salad” and lo and behold, it’s totally one of those old recipes that it seems everyone and their grandma have a (very, very similar) recipe for. (Except for our family, apparently!) It was new to all of us, and we’re absolutely smitten!
Essentially, grape salad consists of whole grapes tossed in a sweet vanilla cream cheese dressing and then garnished with brown sugar and chopped pecans. It might sound bizarre, I know, but trust me. You’ll love it!
Here’s the breakdown of grape salad (which was nearly identical in every single recipe I found online while I was researching):
- Seedless grapes (either all red, all green, or a mixture of the two)
- Cream cheese (one 8-ounce block softened to room temperature)
- Sour cream
- Granulated sugar
- Vanilla extract (1-2 teaspoons, to taste)
- Brown sugar (you can use anywhere from a few tablespoons to a full cup)
- Chopped nuts (usually walnuts or pecans, and again anywhere from a few tablespoons to a full cup)
As you can see, there is a standard list of ingredients that was the same in every recipe I found, but some of the quantities varied. So, feel free to play around with some of the amounts!
How To Make the Sweet Cream Cheese Dressing
This is a super simple creamy “salad” dressing to make! In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer at medium speed. Beat together the softened cream cheese, sour cream, sugar, and vanilla extract until smooth and thick (about 3 minutes). That’s it!
How To Make This Dish
- Add the grapes to the bowl with the cream cheese dressing. Gently fold the grapes into the cream cheese mixture using a rubber spatula until everything is evenly coated.
- Refrigerate this easy grape salad for at least 1 hour before serving or up to overnight.
- Prior to serving, sprinkle with brown sugar and chopped pecans. Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. (Beyond that, it will get watery and the grapes will lose their crisp.)
Tips for Success
- You can use all red grapes (my favorite!), all green, or a mixture of the two based on your personal preferences.
- I used full-fat cream cheese and sour cream because I wanted a nice, thick mixture. Low-fat alternatives have higher water content. So, if you use low-fat just be aware that your “dressing” could be thinner or slightly more watery.
- For a lighter version, use yogurt in place of the sour cream.
- Some recipes use Cool Whip and/or marshmallow creme along with the cream cheese, which also sounds utterly amazing.
- You can sprinkle the brown sugar and pecans before chilling, and the brown sugar will sort of dissolve into the mixture (SO GOOD), but be sure to give it a stir before serving if you do this!
- You definitely want to chill this for at least an hour before serving, but the longer the better, which makes this a perfect dish to prep the day before serving. I love how fresh and crisp the grapes stayed, even days later.
- There are many recipes out there that include chopped up candy bars like Butterfinger or Snickers. Who am I to oppose that?!
- Consider toasting your nuts before chopping them and tossing them in this grape salad for a deeper flavor and more crunch!
- Double or triple this recipe to feed a crowd!
- Want more crunch? Add some toasted, shredded coconut! Pomegranate arils would also be delicious here.
Frequently Asked Questions
One pound of seedless grapes contains about 2.5 cups of grapes.
I do not recommend doing that, as it will release their juices and cause the grape salad to become watery. If needed, you could slice before serving to people who may need it.
More Dessert Fruit Salads To Try
- Strawberry Pretzel Salad
- Taffy Apple Salad
- Grandma’s Ambrosia Salad
- Cream Cheese Fruit Dip
- Waldorf Salad
- Fresh Fruit Tart with Pastry Cream
- 8 ounces (226.8 g) cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1 cup (230 ml) sour cream
- ½ cup (100 g) granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 pounds (1.81 kg) red seedless grapes, rinsed and drained well, about 10 cups
- ½ cup (110 g) light brown sugar
- 1 cup (99 g) chopped pecans
- In a large mixing bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat together the cream cheese, sour cream, sugar and vanilla extract until smooth and thick, about 3 minutes.
- Add the grapes to the bowl and, using a rubber spatula, gently fold the grapes into the cream cheese mixture until everything is evenly coated. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving, or overnight.
- Prior to serving, sprinkle with brown sugar and chopped pecans. Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- Grapes: You can use all red grapes (my favorite!), all green, or a mixture of the two based on your personal preferences. Leave them whole
- Cream Cheese and Sour Cream: I used full-fat cream cheese and sour cream because I wanted a nice, thick mixture. Low-fat alternatives have higher water content so if you use low-fat just be aware that your “dressing” could be thinner or slightly more watery.
- Lighter Alternative: Use yogurt in place of the sour cream.
- Brown Sugar Topping: You can sprinkle the brown sugar and pecans before chilling, and the brown sugar will sort of dissolve into the mixture (SO GOOD), but be sure to give it a stir before serving if you do this!
- Make-Ahead: Chill the mixture for at least 1 hour before serving and up to overnight.
- Storage: Keep leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. After that, the grapes will lose their crispness and the mixture will get watery.
Did you make this recipe?
Leave a review below, then snap a picture and tag @thebrowneyedbaker on Instagram so I can see it!
Photography by Dee Frances.
Oops! I just posted a review, but meant to ask about a yogurt flavor suggestion as a substitution for the sour cream, not the cream cheese.
Oh, Michelle! This salad is the bomb! I read your suggestion that you can substitute yogurt for the cream cheese. I’d like to try that as well for a lighter version variation – do you have a flavor recommendation?
Oops – I meant a flavor of yogurt substitution for the sour cream, not the cream cheese!
This salad is fabulous! It can be served at any holiday meal, and dressed up, to be served with an elegant table, a casual gathering, a BBQ, a potluck, or a special brunch, or at a brunch. It could be prepared beside other salad dishes, as in a nice variety of salads, for a salad bar. You and your family will enjoy preparing this Grape Salad for any occasion you desire…& the taste is delicious. I suggest making it the day before, (when you have plenty of time, and relax, afterward), and chill, overnight!) Your family and guests of any age (2 years to 99) will enjoy it, every time!
This salad looks so yummy! I love your blog!!
This sounds SCRUMPTIOUS, and I can hardly wait to make this for a wonderful family meal, or celebration! I’m thrilled that you posted and included this Grape Salad! Thank you.
I have never posted a comment/review before but after tasting this I had no choice. So good, so simple. I have looked at this recipe several times and always thought I really wanted to make it and today I finally did. Yay for me. Will definitely make again and am planning on taking it to our EC Thanksgiving potluck. I know all those hungry emergency room employees will enjoy it. Thanks for a great recipe
This dish looks amazingly delicious, and I can hardly wait to make.
Hi, I love your blog! I have been following it for some time, but I think this is my first comment. This salad looks refreshing and delicious.
Another twist to the grape salad recipe is Butterfinger candy bars.
– 2 cups red seedless grapes
– 2 cups green seedless grapes
– 8 ounces cream cheese
– 8 ounces sour cream
– 1/2 cup sugar
– 4 Butterfinger candy bars, crushed
-1/4-1/2 cup pecans, crushed
A couple of years ago the NYT made a list of 50 Thanksgiving dishes, one per state, and chose grape salad to represent Minnesota. It is definitely not a common dish in MN nowadays, so it turned into a big fiasco — it sort of confirmed the stereotype that New Yorkers don’t really care about the midwest and just picked a random (and TBH, odd-sounding) dish to represent MN. Here’s a recap of all the responses: https://publiceditor.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/11/20/new-york-times-minnesota-grape-salad/
Your description of the dish actually sounds delightful! I only found one Minnesotan who knew what it was, but maybe grape salad is having a renaissance! ;)
(It actually makes sense to me that Pittsburgh-area families would have a recipe for it. I bet it was sort of an upper-Midwest/rust belt kind of dish and it was included in one old-time Minnesota cookbook apparently.)
So funny, our family friend brought a date to one of our get-togethers and she brought Grape Salad. I was so nervous to try it and when I did, it was delicious! I never asked her for the recipe and I don’t remember any nuts in it, but I can’t wait to try this one, it looks amazing! Thanks Michelle!
I was definitely nervous to try it, too! But wow, SO GOOD. I hope you enjoy it when you make it! You’re welcome! :)
I first had grape salad at a luncheon at my sisters church and begged her to please find out who made it and to ask for the recipe. It was deliciously refreshing and I couldn’t figure out what it was that made it tangy besides the cream cheese. This is it!! Love it! It’s definitely going on the menu today and I will do it again for Easter. Everyone loves it!
I’m glad the recipe eventually made its way to you via me, ha! Enjoy and have a Happy Easter!
Yup, I made this last year and did a video and everyone went crazy over it. Who knew?! It was just an old recipe that my family always made but it’s seriously so good!
That’s awesome! People definitely crave nostalgic recipes! Everyone loved this at our house!
Your family isn’t the only one that hasn’t heard of grape salad. It looks delicious and I’ll have to try it soon.
So happy to hear that, ha! Enjoy!
Yum!! It has been too long since I have had a grape salad. Wanna try this asap 😊
I hope you enjoy it!
Looks Yummy , I feel a great satisfaction when i try your recipe and get success almost ever time. Thank you for sharing this with us.
Aww thank you very much!
This salad looks so good! It reminds me something my mom used to make when I was growing up!
Thanks Kelly! I love recipes that remind me of things I ate when I was little!